Master Your Message Blog

speech

Newbie speakers get a little apprehensive about questions. There’s a fear that they’ll be caught off guard – that they’ll look stupid if they don’t have an answer . . .

And they’re right … if they’re unprepared. Just like anything else in life, looking brilliant on stage takes planning.

However, if you really do know your material, prepare properly, and follow a few basic rules, you’ll find it’s the most powerful part of a presentation.

I love question and answer sessions

I love Question and Answer sessions. ‘Cause they give me a chance to shine – I can carry on a direct dialogue with my audience and make sure any concerns are addressed.

Here’s what you do. Know your subject area and identify any potential questions that might be sensitive Read More …

It’s OK to be nervous. We all are to a certain extent. Even me. Well, not now, ‘cause there’s nobody here. I’m talking about on stage.

Now, there are lots of techniques you can try to treat the symptoms of nervousness. You’ll find a whack of them in the articles on my website.

But the truth is, it doesn’t get at the heart of the problem. Cause the problem is self-confidence. Plain and simple.

It’s just like anything else in life.  Do it enough and you’ll get good at it. Know you’re good at it and your self-confidence goes through the roof.

Here’s what I suggest – two things.

One. Practice. Just speak a lot, or if you want to do it in a really Read More …

Point form seems to be highly misunderstood. I often see screens of text using full sentences.

If you’re going to use full sentences, you’re better off going home. That’s because you’ll read them and THAT is the thing audiences hate the most! The number one thing! I’ve done it  … so I know!

And why would you need to be there anyway? – your audience can just read your presentation.

Even more important – if they’re reading, they’re not listening to you!

So … you need to get your points down to their absolute essence. Use the fewest number of words you can use to support or reinforce your point.

Let’s get rid of as many articles, prepositions, pronouns … the little words …

Read More …

There isn’t anything that connects you with your audience more than your eyes. We call that eye contact.

Now, I don’t mean cursory, flit around the room eye contact – I’m talking hard core at least two sentences long eye contact. That’s what works.

Beginning speakers know they have to have good eye contact and so they make sure they scan the room and try and spend a couple of seconds on each person. That’s the ADD method.

People know when you’re talking AT them rather than TO them. If you’ve sat in the audience when a speaker scans the group and never really connects with one person, you know you don’t tend to get really involved in the message.

But when a speaker spends Read More …

If you want your audience to remember something, say it again … and again … and again.

Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous speech of March 28, 1863 stays with us today … at least the title does … “I Have A Dream.” Now, how many times did he say that line?
 Right … Eight! Eight times with intervals in between. Smart.

Speaking of smart: They’ve done experiments with students studying for tests. They had one group cram the night before and another group was shown the information in spaced intervals over a longer period of time. Who did better on the test?*

Right! Not the crammers. In fact, they did way worse.

Here’s the key. We learn the best when information is introduced in greater Read More …

Make your presentation facts interesting and memorable.

Ever have a presenter give you a fact during a presentation and you had no idea what it meant – how it related to you or anything else, for that matter?

If you’re like me, the answer is “all the time.”

There are technical presentations in which presenters ream off fact after fact after fact with no indication as to what’s really important and how it relates to what you already know. At the end of the presentation, you leave the room wondering what on earth it all meant, unable to remember even a single number or point.

The most error I see most often is the presenter who throws out a number without the context. For Read More …

Movies are totally involving. The best ones make a point. And they’re about people. And we remember the really good ones for a long, long time. That’s the power of stories.

They’re the most compelling part of any presentation.

Doug Stevenson's book on how to tell stories in business presentationsI saw master storytelling coach, Doug Stevenson speak last year. Doug coaches business people in the art of storytelling. And if you’re serious about being a compelling speaker, you absolutely have to get his book, Doug Stevenson’s Story Theater Method. You’ll find Doug at “The Storytelling Studio for Business.”

Doug is coming to Calgary! If you’re in the Calgary or Edmonton area, this is a NOT TO BE MISSED one day workshop on storytelling for business – on Sunday, June 15, 2014. Get more Read More …

Presentations are about change. Cause if everything was going to stay the same, you wouldn’t need a presentation!

So … anytime there’s change within an organization, there’s some type of presentation that needs to be put together. It can be:

  • as simple as a well-thought-out conversation,
  • as challenging as an on-stage presentation to a packed auditorium, or
  • as calculated as a video program broadcast throughout the organization.

Of course, there are other combinations in between.

The similarity in all these presentation forms is that they have be structured to be persuasive: They must persuade the audience to change in some way, shape, or form.

“More easily said than done!” you might say. And, you’d be right!

Here’s the key: To be persuasive, you have Read More …

You get judged by your opening

Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink”

In the first few seconds, as you walk on stage, your audience is “sizing you up.” They’re figuring out whether they like you and are going to listen to you. They’re also making a decision as to whether you’re funny or not and whether you know what you’re talking about. There’s a great book called “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell about that split second when people subconsciously judge you. We all do it.

The opening of any presentation is THE most important element. It can make or break you as a presenter.

So, it’s important to think about your first few seconds on stage. I recently critiqued a new professional speaker who started her talk by coming on stage all smiles and giving Read More …

My boss wanting me to get to the point

My boss – Yikes!

Let’s talk about the boss. I know, not your favourite subject. You know how your boss wants the details in 30 seconds or less. “Cut the small talk … give me the results.”

Well, most of the time, so does your audience. Now, what I mean by this is that your audience doesn’t want to be left guessing about what point you’re trying to make. They will be if you start with all the details first – or if you begin with a story that meanders around the main point.

So, let’s say I want to get my boss to purchase a new office printer, as the current one is slow and constantly breaks down. That’s what this particular presentation is Read More …